When I last lived in Australia back in the 1990's I lived in an area on the NSW Mid North Coast that, aside from being spectacularly beautiful, had a thriving beef industry. Our town of 10,000 people had no less than 8 butcher shops in the early 90's. Back in those days, when I was settled in a long term relationship with the woman who is The Boy's other parent, we often bought things like whole rump or a side of lamb. We would carry it home and I would spend however long it took to slice and freeze the spoils of our shopping trip.
I actually come from a long line of butchers. My dad was a doctor (pun intended) and his mother was the daughter, granddaughter, great-granddaughter, and great-great-granddaughter of butchers. I am seriously not kidding. My first Australian ancestor was a convict who arrived at the colony in 1792 and almost immediately established a butcher business where he employed/was allocated other convicts as labourers. That butcher shop was in George St Sydney opposite the Town Hall. While I understand that some may find this abhorrent I have actually always quite enjoyed handling meat
Now I know that others may want to hit me upside the head with a brick for being so thick, but yet again... yes I know this is a recurrent problem... I failed to realize that I am not in fact the same healthy, fit person I was fifteen years ago.
First I spent about two days looking at this massive package that was dominating one shelf in the fridge. Then I began a familiarization process with TLOML's set of knives that were sharp like sledgehammers. I'm not sure if I have mentioned it here lately but ever since the night of the Shabbat dinner (where I spent a while washing dishes) I have had a lingering case of 'Wimpy Arms Syndrome'(WAS). I'm not actually as weak as I feel, I can do stuff with my arms but afterwards I always feel like my arms are in an anaerobic state - sometimes for days. In a knife attack of a different kind I attacked the knives with the steel. That wore me out and exacerbated the 'WAS'.
Finally on Monday I copped a total rush and after dropping TLOML off to work I set about butchering the rump. Wow what a mammoth undertaking! This was clearly made more mammoth by my fixation on trimming ALL the fat from anything other than steaks. I would cut off the fatty bits and then cut the meat left on the fatty bits off them for the dog... I don't want to clog her arteries any more than I want to clog my own! I got half way through and had to have a rest for a while. Not only was the 'WAS' playing up but standing was making the rest of my body rebel and the rump was becoming quite a pain in the butt!
I resumed after a couple of hours horizontal. I ended up with;
- two huge steaks
- five normal sized steaks
- six thin BBQ or sandwich steaks
- one about 1.5kg chunk for roasting
- roughly three kg of trimmed sliced stir fry meat (completely fat free)
I froze all of it except half the stir fry meat that I cooked up into my mother's famous steak diane for dinner. I don't know what has come over me. Here I am cooking twice in a week when in 2010 I probably only cooked twice in the whole year! I am developing a terror that TLOML now has these outrageous expectations of my performance as a "Domestic Goddess". Over and over I am telling her that I really can't cook and I only have three dishes (yes there is one still to come)... She doesn't believe me. I hate cooking. Oy Vey!
So just in case my cooking is exciting any interest in you, my long suffering reader, I will tell you how I made the steak diane.
Start with a nice quality cut of meat in my case rump (duh)... I have tried with blade which wasn't nearly as nice. Slice it very thinly and cut into pieces about 1.5 inches by 1 inch (it doesn't really matter as long as it is cut VERY thinly). Trim all fat and gristle from the meat. The closer to completely lean the better. The next thing I did was marinate the steak in a mixture of 3 parts red wine to 1 part Worcestershire Sauce, about a quarter of a cup of minced garlic (maybe a heaped tablespoon), and a VERY generous sprinkle of black pepper (I also threw in about fifteen whole black peppercorns). Just to give you some idea of proportions this was marinating in a tupperware container about 9 inches by 6 and was about 3 inches deep. I tossed that in the fridge and had another lie down that was urgently needed. The next thing I did was put the whole mix into a large saucepan on medium heat. I brought it to the boil stirring regularly and then turned it down and allowed it to simmer for a long time... maybe an hour? Well until it was reduced to about an inch less moisture in the pan than there was to begin. Then I poured in 600ml of thickened cream (just when you were thinking this might actually be good for you LOL), stirred constantly until it returned to a slow simmer. Then you just let it keep cooking with regular stirring until the meat is in a medium runny sauce... somewhere between a thin goulash and a thick soup. As you can tell by these instructions I have no idea about cooking descriptions, quantities, temps, or timing. To top it off I almost never taste what I am cooking and I cook by smell. If it looks and smells alright then it will taste ok too. It should be very strongly flavoured with the garlic and the pepper well represented. I made enough to feed the two of us for two nights.
OK TLOML was in the throes of ecstasy over the steak diane (I'm sure more than half the ecstasy comes from her not having to think about dinner for two nights in a row). So I have gone and given the wrong impression completely! She seems to think I'm pretty terrific and I hate the idea of the fall I am going to suffer when she sees how hopeless I really am. Now you know why I haven't been blogging as much lately... it's hard work being terrific!